Vegan Quinoa Salad
We are in the swing of tomato season here in South Florida so my heirlooms are delivering a mix of beauties daily. So i sliced up different varieties, shapes and colors to throw in my salad, but really whatever tomatoes you like or you can get your hands on will work here. The juicier the better so they add nice flavor to the dressing as well.
About the Feta Cheese
Yes friends, vegan feta cheese is a thing and the one made by Violife is my absolute favorite. Everything from flavor to texture is absolutely perfect, salty crumbly but also creamy so it holds its shape as you toss it with the quinoa and veggies. If you have another dairy-free favorite please share with us in the comments below.
The Zesty Dressing
A simple but classic Mediterranean style dressing of olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of oregano helps the fresh flavors of the veggies shine through in every bite. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper but keep in mind you have plenty of salty olives, capers and feta already in the mix. So it’s best to toss your salad first then adjust seasonings.
Cooking Quinoa for Salad
- Make ahead – It’s very important that you cook the quinoa in advance and it has time to cool off completely. Just like in the case of beans I make a big batch for the week ahead to use in different recipes.
- Water ratio – Start with 3 cups quinoa + 5 cups of water, simmered covered with a pinch of salt + a bay leaf for 12-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Allow to continue steaming with the lid on for another 15 minutes after removing from heat. This should yield a perfectly fluffy quinoa ideal in many dishes including my favorite basil pesto quinoa and this lemon cucumber quinoa salad.
- Add Ins – Anything from cooked chickpeas or beans to marinated artichokes, fresh or roasted peppers, roasted summer vegetables, spinach, arugula and marinated sun dried tomatoes would make a great addition to this salad.
- How long does quinoa salad last in the fridge ? In general I would store plain quinoa in the fridge up to one week but because this salad has a lot of fresh vegetables in the mix I wouldn’t keep it for more 3 days. But let’s be honest, it will be gone before day 2 comes around.
- Is quinoa a whole grain? Quinoa is actually a seed not a grain, it’s a complete source of protein containing all the 9 essential amino-acids and also gluten-free!
- Asian Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Flatbread
- Pesto Quinoa
- Lemon Quinoa Cucumber Salad
- Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
How to Make Vegan Quinoa Salad
Vegan Quinoa Salad
- 2.5-3 cups cooked quinoa
- 2.5 cups heirloom tomatoes sliced
- 1/2 English cucumber diced
- 1 cup black olives pitted
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1 cup vegan feta cheese (i used 1/2 block of Violife feta)
- S & P to taste
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp dry oregano
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cook your quinoa in advance, add to a large salad bowl together with the olives and capers and set aside. (Feel free to half the olives if you prefer).
- Slice your tomatoes into bite size pieces and dice the cucumber into cubes. Slice the red onion into thin slices and add everything to the bowl with quinoa. Crumble the feta cheese over the top then sprinkle with the fresh dill.
- In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano then pour over the salad. Gently toss to coat well.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with sea slat and freshly cracked black pepper if needed. A garnish of fresh onion chives would make a nice addition.
- It’s very important that you cook the quinoa in advance and it has time to cool off completely. Just like in the case of beans I make a big batch for the week ahead to use in different recipes. I start with 3 cups quinoa + 5 cups of water, simmered covered with a pinch of salt and a bay leaf for 12-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Allow to continue steaming with the lid on for another 15 minutes after removing from heat. This should yield a perfectly fluffy quinoa ideal for salads.
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